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thank you all very much for being here tonight. thanks to cal humanities for making this possible. the topic is inspired by the jefferson quote about the price of freedom and liberty. jefferson also said, reportedly said, given the choice between government and newspapers, without one or the other, he would have preferred to do with newspapers and without government. then he got elected and began to claim he was misquoted. from that, zocalo said big questions may lot of different perspectives. we have re-different people here -- three people here from different parts of the country, different backgrounds. they're all journalists.
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they are all people who have looked at a wide variety of topics in their work, and have among the topics they have looked at, are the media itself and specifically questions about how we keep a check on power, keep a check on government. you will hear from all three of them. i will introduce each of them as i ask the questions. immediately to my right is bernardo ruiz. his most recent film "reportero," is an incredible film if you have not seen it, it follows a reporter at an embattled mexican news weekly reporting on organized crime and corrupt officials. the film was completed and toward mexico and the human rights watch film festival and will air january 7, 2013 on
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pbs. he also produced two documentaries examining the dropout crisis and is a previous director of the american experience, roberto clemente, winner of an award for outstanding television documentary. he has done a number of other things. the question is -- what does vigilance mean at this time of transition, how we get information by newspapers, the changes in reporting. what does it mean? what should it mean in this context? what does it mean particularly for the kinds of reporters that you have most recently made this film about who are covering very difficult stories where there is real risk involved? >> from my perspective, as a
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documentary filmmaker, i do not know i would consider myself a journalist in the traditional sense. i think i have a slightly different set of challenges. a traditional journalist has to be factually accurate -- like that, but that is a point of departure to make something larger. i do not always get there. for me, vigilance is about depth. i made "reportero" about the staff and reporters there public, the co-director of the paper, and i wanted to make the film because so much of the u.s. cable coverage that i was seeing about the drug war, especially in this part of the
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country, to me seemed woefully decontextualized. it felt like rubbernecking body count journalism. x number of people were shot on the state. this person was be headed there, but no context. no background, no history, the deepening of the story. i'm by no means a expert on mexico's drug war, but i did have a very strong interest in this region and in tijuana. i began researching in 2007 while looking for another story. unlike other journalists, who do not have the amount of time that you often need to tell the stories, when i was in production i had a little over two years to spend with the story. that is enough time to deepen your sense of a place, an institution, to gain trust and to hopefully have a deeper narrative.
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whether or not i succeeded or failed is up to the audience. and the people who have pushed back on my perspective. but, for me, the ability to spend time with an issue, to deepen your understanding of that issue, provides the audience -- that is a key of trying to take apart the issue of vigilance. >> i'm going to talk about two pressures, which are in no way similar. but to speak to how hard it is to be a professional reporter or a documentary -- documentary filmmaker in these times. there are a couple of stories, economist, a court reporter we die, we see the founder
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of the -- sort of shot, bidding on this side of the border to avoid danger, in a time where it is so hard to make a living doing this anywhere, are we asking too much of professional journalists? you think? >> that is a great question. i think the newspaper reporters that profiled in a "reportero" -- the lead reporter, they had very serious threats that force them to send his family away for a while. they would say, we are just regional reporters, doing our peace, cover and organized crime as we see it played out in this region. what u.s. reporters doing? i was speaking to a person who
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basically started one of latin america's first online news outlets, a fabulous online news outlet. he was saying is almost as if david copperfield were at the border when these suv is packed with methamphetamines and other drugs and narcotics were funneled into the united states, as if they magically vanish when they hit the united states. who is doing reporting on the criminal distribution networks in united states, atlanta, dallas, los angeles -- who is doing that reporting here? so much attention is focused on what is happening in mexico, we are lamenting the strengths or weaknesses of reporting in mexico. the mexican reporters, especially the regional ones, were hardest hit. it is the once in these regional outlets like tijuana. they want to know who was telling the other side of the story and who is doing the money reporting, all these narco dollars. who is doing the story about money laundering?
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i do not know if i answered your question, but that is certainly a kind of push back there. who is telling the big story and the small story? >> let me bring in carrie lozano to the conversation. she is a documentary filmmaker and journalist who has done a lot of work. her film "underground" appeared at sundance. also she is an emerging expert on the question of collaborative reporting, journalists, between news organizations and citizens -- she works in the investigative reporting for uc berkley and has co-founded collaboration central. very basic question -- who is doing this kind of reporting? you could say this about
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anything. do existing american media have the resources, individual television stations, to do investigative reporting on the toughest stories? >> if my boss -- my boss, for any of you who have seen "insider," he is the insider, al pacino. he says investigative reporting is not non-profit, it is anti- profit. he is right. nobody ever had the resources to spend two years on a story. nobody knows this, but "the new york times" did not even have an investigative unit until the 1990's. even then it was just a couple of people. i do not want to say that
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nothing has been done, because scott can tell this -- at the local level. the local watchdog is hurting around the country, but at the national level i do not know that a so much the case that we are not able to be vigilant anymore. i think vigilance is taking a different form. it is taking the form of more collaborative efforts, where people are working together to produce really in-depth stories that are hard hitting and take that watchdog role. it is happening in other mediums. a lot of documentary filmmaking is becoming investigative and there's more support and acknowledgment for that. if you look at the numbers over time, more newspapers do not exist, a lot of reporters have lost their jobs, that is true, you cannot deny it, but i went
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to the investigative reporting conference this year and there were 1500 people there, one of the largest turnouts ever. people are still doing work, doing it in different ways. the money is always hard to come by. it may be harder, but we also have wider means of distribution. it is hard to say -- there is no clear cost-benefit analysis of was a better then than now. i am not 100% convinced. i think it is different now. -- "the baltimore sun," "the wall street journal," and "the los angeles times." i worked with many brilliant people, but plan well with others was not a strength of the of those. it very difficult folks. they had a hard time collaborating and getting along with the person sitting next to them in the news room. my old boss from "the los
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angeles times," he called the collaborative effort a pain in the a. tell me what one of these things looks like. explain what happens -- how do they get along? do they get along? >> for those of you who have not worked in a newsroom before, journalists and organizations are incredibly competitive. even today, in your contract, you are signing confidentiality agreements. you will not talk about your story. a story -- i do not know if it has been true -- they used to assign reporters the same story to two reporters to see who does the better job. there is a huge cultural issue here. what is happening because of diminished resources is news organizations are starting to say, i cannot do that kind of work on my own. i will start to work with other
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technically competing news organizations. i have been involved mostly in large-scale collaborations that involve pbs frontline, propublica, we are doing something with univision and the center for investigative reporting. it may seem like a no-brainer -- it kind of is, and especially today, but culturally is against the norm. we received at uc berkeley a grant a couple of years ago from the knight foundation -- they asked us to do a how-to model for collaborative reporting. we quickly realized that before we can teach people to do this, we need to change their mind. we need to change the culture in some way or start to talk about the culture. do they always play well with others? no, not always. the thing i say every conferences i think that in the news industry we need to put a lot more effort into teaching
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and team work in a way other businesses do and teaching leadership. it is good leadership and teamwork skills, the acknowledgment of that -- reporters can do a job they feel good about. >> there is not enough money. everybody -- the audience is too fractured? >> it is both. for frontline, the executive producers there felt they do not have investigative reporters on staff, they cannot afford it. they want to have the most cutting edge investigative stories on the air. the way they do that is to work with other organizations who are doing investigative work. they are not broadcast organizations necessarily. it is about the money and it is also about the fractured
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audience. one thing that we realized when we worked on a series with propublica, front line, and npr -- when you have a and your store with 25 million listeners more people watch the broadcast. it is finding different audiences. >> thank you very much. let's bring in scott lewis, ceo of the "voice of san diego." he manages the internal operations for the organization. he has traded partnerships and projects. he is a regular on tv and radio, host of "san diego fact check" here, has a weekly radio show, et cetera. you are serial collaborator. your staff has 10 people. what kind of vigilance void can you fill with partnerships and you are young, hungry, a talented staff?
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what can't you do? >> i would like to map what we are not doing. areas of geography, institutions that are not being covered and why. holding a mirror up to somebody -- just by showing people that you are watching, there is a positive effect. our goal is to cover things as best we can. that means we cannot repeat or be redundant to anybody else's work. jeff jarvis says "you do what you do best, and you link to the rest." we find stories we can really be the best that and frame and explained. and then let other people do what they do best. and accentuate that and try to help that. when we look at partnerships, we look at -- we look at a world where the producers of content, the drivers of explanation and storytelling, do
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not have to be tied to the means of distribution, a broadcaster re printing press or whatever. the idea that you can have the means of production and distribution in the thing that comes up with the storytelling is i think an old one based on the newspaper having a printing press in its building. we have decided we can be the agency that supports public radio, commercial radio, magazines, tv, and we can all work together to get the best stories possible. we are switching also to not necessarily covering beats but covering narrative's. rather than just putting one person on education to try to gobble that entire fire hose that comes at them, they can add narratives and subtract them, make sure people are involved. if they are not enrolled in
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those narratives, something will play out without their impact. >> a follow-up question -- i am not thinking of any city in particular here. with that kind of operation, let's say you have that operation in a city where the daily newspaper in town started to do some very strange things. i imagine that. it was owned by somebody who was very openly talking they were going to support particular causes, particular developments, particular parties. i imagine something like that could happen. does that add to the obligation of citizens, people like you, to do more to fill that void? or can you still fill the void -- is that city just out of luck? >> first of all, it is a
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remarkable symbol of what is happening to journalism. locally, the owners of the "union tribune" just purchased the "north county times" -- the assets are collapsing in value. they bought it for $12 million, sold his house for $18 million. putting aside that, these properties can be acquired and done with resume. -- as you may. this is not an expensive problem defects. i think that is an important thing to remember. i have a budget of a little more than $1 million, which is a lot for a person like me. for a cultural institution for an impact with the entire city, that is not that much. museums are run on a higher budget. university colleges, professors in universities are on a bigger
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budget. the point is that if we want to solve this and realize we want to have more coverage, there are ways to do that. we have setup a society that knows how to find institutions with that kind of impact. the "texas tribune," we inspired them -- now they inspire us with their ideas and structure. >> they are treated from people from a "texas monthly magazine" wanted to focus on local politics? >> we were featured on the front page of the "new york times" after investigations we did. they told us, what can we do here? they decided they wanted to do an entity in austen that covers politics relevant to the entire state. now they are running on a $5 million budget. we are all gawking at that. that is a lot of money for the -- not a lot of money for the
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type of impact that institution can have. with the vance, corporate and member sponsors, you can do some impressive things. we are trying to look at this is a problem to solve. do not cover anything unless you can do better than anybody else or nobody is doing it. makes sense of what people say, a fact check it, but find out what they do not want to say as well. applying those types of metrics to the stories and narratives you will cover can make it so that you are leveraging a small amount of resources a lot better than perhaps the old model. >> for the whole panel -- you mentioned, bernardo, a story here, a big story here. what are we missing when we do the things we can with the resources we can -- what are the holes opening up where we are not being vigilant? >> it is geographic and
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qualitative. there are areas or not covering, institutions. people appreciate investigative journalism when it has its impact, but when it is not around to do not know what you are missing, unnecessarily. we do not know what we do not know. i think that is an important problem. >> we look for stories where literally is not work being done. one of the big stories last year was about an investigation in america. you may hear about a murder investigation in a nearby city and it might seem flawed, but that is the end of it. this came from a long trail of reporting done by many different people. we started to just get a sense that -- we did not have a sense
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of what the country looked like. we started to learn there were no rules for what it meant to be a coroner -- you did not have to be a doctor or trained in some cities. there is an anecdote that somebody was also the janitor as well as the coroner. we are looking for tips where there is a story in front of you, the local murder investigation, but what is behind that? that is what we are always doing, trying to look at an issue that may be all around us but nobody has found a really particular angle. we are lucky because we have the capacity to do national stories and try to get different organizations involved to look at something on a national scale. >> bringing back to that -- as a documentary filmmaker, i manage a small company, we are four people -- when you commit to a story, you had better know that you are going to do a good job. once you go down that rabbit hole, you are talking about a couple of years. for me, the criteria is, take a narrative out there that is
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well known and find a back story. i think about the story -- >> the legendary columnist. >> exactly, who when kennedy was being buried was looking for an angle on how to tell the story and ended up doing a beautiful piece, interviewing the grave digger. telling the story of kennedy's death through the point of view of this grave digger. how do you talk about the drug war and u.s. links to the drug war, this thing that is so impossible -- you have to root it in a specific story and find some kind of back door, some kind of different way to do it. for me that is always an important piece of the puzzle.
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>> to look at another aspect of this -- a lot of citizens are doing journalistic things with their cameras all over the world. i found myself thinking as i was watching about everyone, folks in syria and homs, they show what they could, to folks here in oakland with camera phones trying to show police misbehaving. somebody, the act of journalism, how to protect people, whether they are citizens or professionals -- what do you think? we do not have a conversation about that. should there be an international standard of journalistic rights, if you are committing journalism you should be protected? how you protect those folks? >> good luck implementing that law. is a great question. something journalists and tijuana struggle with all the
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time with the rise of social media and websites a lot of you have heard about -- including one which started out as a compendium of information about basically narco turf wars, shootings in the streets, the headings. it started off as a visual wallpaper and has since become interesting, more sophisticated, and is beginning to write articles and put -- and the editor is anonymous, but they are beginning to publish pieces. this thing that was touted early on as being a kind of innovative or new information delivery system is now turning into a more traditional journalistic entity. the journalist would say, that is great that the information is there, and the kind of iphone video or man on the street, so called man on the street video of any event can be uploaded quickly, but who is
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providing context and analysis? not that we always need to rely writing for a weekly, that really gives you a totally different approach. you can provide context, provide perspective, in a way that you do not necessarily get from that immediate delivery of information, of data. >> in collaborative work, to what extent are using stuff that comes in from citizens? to what extent are you putting data and other things out that citizens can then put the pieces together? how much of that do you do? what is its value? what does not work about it? >> we do not have a magic formula, we do not have the type of investment you can make controls the other people do. it is important to remember that journalists always put out a story knowing that the response is more valuable than the story they put out. to see what the truth is.
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we are just entering a very exciting phase. with this disruption, there has been a lot of different efforts to change the role of journalism -- not just to classify the job, but also to organize information better. one of the roles journalists never picked up the way they should have and we are trying to explore more is their educational role. you can do investigative journalism, but the idea that people understand everything journalists talk about or read about in their story these days is really something we need to examine. they are not following the story is very well. it is not their fault. stories are not being told fully. they are not being brought to speed. the number of people who know how school board elections work
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or how different aspect of our community actually function before they can even get enrolled in a story about how they are developing is something journalists need to take stock in and step back from. this formula is being applied to stories, reader's digest, stuff like that, that help people. >> the citizen question -- >> we are not an outlet. we are a program at the university of california, a graduate program that does reporting, but we are working with different organizations. we do not really have an initiative, per said, but there are organizations that are doing incredible work with citizens. "the guardian" in the u.k. is the best example of a large organization that works with citizens on a huge scale. one of the things they did in the last couple years was pulled from public records about the way their politicians are spending money.
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millions of documents. they created a form and citizens volunteered to go through those millions of documents and competed. it was amazingly successful. i do not know how many thousands of people participated, but it was a lot. "the guardian" is very innovative. american journalists are trying to find ways to do this -- to engage citizens. we do not get a lot of cold calls or tips, but we never ignore. i do not know if there are journalists out there -- we never ignore a tip. i do not care how crazy it seems, how far-fetched -- we always follow up. you will be surprised at how many amazing stories we get out of thosetips . on that way, we deal with people in serious ways. when we do large-scale investigations, one of the things we try to do is make information available for other reporters. we treated maps that showed in each county or state level, it
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is different at the county level, how investigations work, what journalists need to report. trying to share as much information as we can so that other reporters can take what we have done and carry it forward. >> talking about educational -- i could not help but think of the internal revenue service when he started talking about education. you are collaborating with nonprofits. bernardo ruiz productions -- >> not a non-profit, but primarily public funders, foundations. >> so you are non-profit, you have money from foundations, they have agendas. the second problem, the irs seems to not buy in many cases, they do not buy the notion that
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non-profit journalistic enterprises are educational things. how do you wrestle with both of those? >> there is a discomfort with the idea that newspapers are not going to be ok. the idea that it needs to be a public service type entity that take that role is still something they are getting accustomed to. there is movement in a positive -- >> these are old irs agents that are holding back? >> i do not know. the point being, what i'm trying to address is that there is a role, there is a gap between when you leave school, even college, and civic engagement, being able to run for office. what that knowledge -- how you learn all the things about how your community works?
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there is a gap, and we have no organized system for how to get you to that point other than for you to individually look at your students' school or a stop sign not in place, then you start getting engaged. that is why i think our type of organization can increase that educational role and do more of what we are doing at the investigative and vigilance. >> have you had a hard time? >> we were one of the first. maybe they started to dial back the more controversial organizations. it has done quite well. we never had trouble. it is important to note that the members who watched support it. it is not a question when they make that decision -- people are wondering when people support
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journalism, these newspapers fall apart and people say people are not willing to pay for journalism. >> they never ask, please, help us? >> it just stopped. it just stood there like a depressing time capsule for months -- it drove me nuts. these entities are falling apart without ever wondering what their community would support. frankly, a nonprofit is a much better situation to make that plea to the community because a for-profit is set up for shareholder values where receiving money as gifts is awkward. we see it in different newsrooms around the country. >> you are more sympathetic? >> i am saying the mission-based organization is a more sympathetic organization to support. >> when you reported on some of these that are foundation- funded, had he seen examples of
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the founder trying to meddle? >> yes, but it is a meddling in a particular way. very few foundations exist solely to support journalism -- there are a few, but there are not many. there are thousands of foundations with in this country, and they have very specific desires and goals and impacts in mind. it might be to better their community, to better the arts. a host of things. when i say nettling, it is that sometimes they will give a news organization money with a very specific scope in mind. i am making this up to be fair, but maybe they want you to just cover education. that could be great, but maybe what you really need to cover something else in that community, but suddenly you have a check in front of you and
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you feel compelled to cover education. that is the type of thing we are seeing here and there, but that overall is kind of concern. i think it could be that foundations could be educated about journalism. i went to a big foundation conference and realize they do not necessarily understand the ethos of journalism. that goes against the ethos of journalism to tell them what they should cover. i think it had a conversation, but it will take time and effort. >> for money to make films? how tough it out there? is there money for vigilance? >> on the documentary side, it is most of the time, as documentarians, we are what would be considered enterprise journalism. we subsidize our development and by the time we have something to show or the sense of a pitts we are going to foundations. typically we are going to places where we think these projects would be well received. i am also sometimes
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commissioned by entities. i am working on an education serious, and that as a commission from the corporation for public broadcasting. the mandate is very clear. i have been very lucky in that the foundations that have supported my work -- in "reportero" we had quite a bit of support in the ford foundation. there was no editorial meddling and no restrictions on we should and should not be talking about. >> another aspect -- the standing army of journalists has declined and been given their honorable or not so honorable discharges. particularly in the last decade. they have gone to all kinds of institutions -- i keep finding old colleagues are people i knew who argue in journalism from in a different kind of place. they will tell me that, at
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least. government is one -- you started in government. you were the inspector general of health and human services. the legislative leadership in california hired a bunch of journalists out of the press corps to put them in office -- they figure out stories that have not gotten a lot of attention. there are reporters working in l.a. county for the board of supervisors -- they have journalistic blogs or even internally. does that have value? can the government be doing this? can you be doing journalism from within government? >> no. i do not think you can be doing journalism from within government. the inspector general is supposed to be apolitical, and
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that was not totally the case, to be totally frank. i do not know what it is like now, but when i worked there during the clinton administration it was absolutely not apolitical. people make decisions about what it will find, what you will do. i was told that during the bush administration the oig would write reports. that are be completely redlined and turned into a one page memo if it did not fall on certain lines. so i do not think that as possible. >> let me disagree a little bit. maybe not vigilance, but with resources in our world, all these complaints about not covering the good news, different types of news that come from different types of entities can be reapportioned to other needs. at mayor's office, they had 1.3 of some of the best former writers in town, former
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journalists. they could have produced a voice of the mayor's office that was interesting to read, that i would have read. is that government propaganda? of course it is. but on the other hand, n look, is doing. they run columns and interesting conflict-type stories. resources are going direct. in a world of dwindling resources, those resources are used for vigilance and to make sense of what they are saying. put it into context and find out things they do not want to say, but perhaps we can drop the complaint that we are not covering good news and let them cover their own good news. >> that is a good point. >> what about the ngo? human-rights what has won a journalistic awards for its
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work -- human rights watch has won a journalistic awards for its works. in the los angeles area, the best investigative reporter now does investigative reporting paid for by the service employees international union local. what about that sort of thing? taken with a grain of salt, is that part of the answer? >> in a world where anyone can buy a newspaper for $12 million, we are close to everyone being pretty open -- newspapers are trying to do -- if a non- governmental organization produces a product that is transparent about things like that -- people can put it together and do in narrative you can understand. >> what do you think? >> i was just going to say, as
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long as these projects are explicit about where support is coming from, are up front about it, at least you are giving a fighting chance. interestingly, a lot of commercial organizations are not explicit or honest about where their support is coming from. in some ways, we are holding the ngo's and nonprofits to a higher degree of scrutiny. >> you get credibility based on the the algorithm you are using to find your information, how transparent you are. it used to be that a young person like jason blair could work for "the new york times" and would have credibility.
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athink we're changing to world where an organization has to be open and show how it goes about its business, what its plan is, what it is trying to do, and let the reader -- >> what about the academy? what about universities as a home for this? full disclosure -- one of zocalo's most important partners is arizona state university. you work in the academy, doing investigative journalism. is that a natural home, with academic freedom, or does that have drawbacks and problems that are not immediately apparent? >> i am sure it does. i think it depends on the institution. there is the idea out in the journalism world that we can all become like teaching hospitals. universities can become teaching schools for journalism and put real information out into the world. i think it depends each year for us.
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some years we have an amazing group of students who are very engaged. as with anything, you might get a year with that is not the case. there are ups and downs, but there are more pros than cons , at least for us. being at a academic institution has tremendous benefits -- insurance, the university pays the rent. there are many benefits, but it is definitely a different way of working and involves a lot of time and mentor ship beyond actual reporting and a different type of fund raising, too. >> have either of you collaborated with universities in any of your work? >> i have not had success with it yet. that does not mean we could not figure it out. >> there is a project we worked on -- one of our bigger investigations was done with claremont-mckenna about food stamp distribution in san diego
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county compared to other counties in california. they helped us with the data for that. there are ways with specific projects. >> i hear more about that, and a partner of zocalo, the lane center of stanford, has a spatial history lab. that has allowed journalists to do more with data, deeper data mining. the journalist is almost the translator of what comes out of the data. is that sort of the great potential in that? they have computers and -- >> a partnership always works best when both partners realize they cannot do something. when the journalist realizes they have a problem they can solve if only they had a camera or data or geography, then they can do anything. but it is very important that
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both partners realize they cannot do what the other partner can not. >> if journalists have always been conveeners, they find people, translate experts -- do we get, the army puts the work through the boot camp. you get to the point you have to train experts and people on how to do journalism? that is the next thing -- the journalists, it will be like early vietnam, folks come in to train the citizen or the expert, essentially? we are on a training mission? >> an exciting front will be a version where the prosecutors become journalists, and military experts become journalists. the idea that journalism school just produces journalism, there
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is probably a role for storytelling as a profession. i am really excited to see some become experts and polling and finance writing and stuff like that. i am excited to see that at the local level, and if we could ever afford some real accountants to investigate facebook and stuff like that, we would know how to write. that would be an expensive purchase. >> i am not worried about good storytellers. i think that is a really exciting idea. one of the things that allows me to sleep at night is when you spend a lifetime working on being a storyteller, i may not be an expert but i am smart enough to know when i do not know something and talk to someone in that particular field.
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something like planet money is a great example. it is an hour of reading radio about hard economic concepts and they do precisely what you have been talking about where you take something incredibly complex and you boil it down in a way that makes sense. it is all told through the power of narrative. i am feel like i am not an expert and will fully on agitated about vast pieces of american life. as a storyteller, i understand i need to go here and put those pieces together. >> i wanted to follow up on something you referenced, the notion of the journalism school, teaching. you are seeing more journalism schools asking, a bunch of foundations getting together recently who wrote a letter that you are not supposed to use in newspaper leads, slamming journalism universities for not
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using that model. what are journalism schools producing? part of me wonders, is part of what is going on we are trying to keep labor costs low -- those are people who do not need to pay, but they are paying you for the privilege of doing the work. >> this is completely my opinion. i think the world is changing so much faster than academia is accustomed to. journalism, even just a few years ago, we would not be having this conversation. we will be having the death of the newspaper conversation. we had that for five or six years. i feel like things change so quickly. the technology has changed things so rapidly that i think
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academia has a hard time keeping up and knowing what to tell young journalists to do. i am reading a slew of our lists saying, i want specialist's again. that is partly what is happening. the world is moving at such a rapid pace. >> we have a switch that with such a robust media industry for so long, the goal of academia as it applies to media was to protect quality and talk about best practices. whither the death of the media industry, and it is the death, the role has to switch to innovation to figuring out how to protect those values and other things we care about. that itself has to have some element of innovation and creativity. it cannot just be about best
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practices, these great stories we wrote, that sort of thing. >> if you want to become a documentary filmmaker, where do you learn how to do that? where do you go train? do you pick up your camera? what advice do you give to someone who says i want to be like bernardo ruiz. >> the scared straight documentary, the ex-con goes to talk to a kid. i sometimes feel like i go to documentary talks and give that lecture. i go to a new program, a social documentary program, a two-year program in new york. there are two routes. one i took like running away to join a circus. a minor league ball player. you train with people who are really good at what they do.
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>> to train you? >> i was lucky enough to work for a couple great filmmakers. i worked for orlando bagwell for a few years. a pbs series. he had come out on a series looking on civil-rights issues in america. that was a fundamental place for me to learn. i also worked on a documentary series for a long time. i learned by working in production and by immediately working on things of my own. i do think there is a benefit to the best practices, the thing that happens in an institution where you are not just struggling to make the thing. you are talking about it and you also have community and resources. if you can afford it, that is a powerful route. i happened to learn the hardest
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way possible, which is by working in production and not doing anything else. >> is that an issue here, the kind of methods, the institutions and the pattern and career that allows people to be trained to do watch-dog type stuff, whether they are journalists or do similar things, are those drying up? >> documentary films are interesting. in some ways, that still exists. in journalism, the apprenticeship model the newspaper used to offer is definitely going away. you have a staff of 10 and you might be able to mentor some number. it used to be the copy boy or girl. you really could not rise through the ranks. i do not want to put a quality judgment on that. everything is different. >> it brings up possibilities for other people to a rise that
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would not happen. >> exactly. >> where is your summer internship? all that. >> it is a defined path. i was in the path and watched its struggle. that was difficult. it offered opportunities. >> it used to be, when there were not so many institutions, the bigger, more diverse array of things, where people wonder who is a journalist anymore, it seemed like there was a stronger, commonly, publicly known ethics of what a journalist was supposed to be and how to behave. should there be a training of what a journalist should be? >> they always talk about rules
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and ethics. the broader public, they never took the time to actually narrate that and enroll the public in their own narratives. people knew the editorials were separate from the newspaper. but there is nothing very stark in the actual paper explaining that every day. we just assume we do a story three months ago, we assume they read it. this is a problem in our industry. one thing's these new industries have to do is enroll people in the high standards they have, talked about constantly why they should be trusted. it is a constant enrollment. >> i want to say one thing i feel like has been lost is, while there has been more room for new voices and more innovative voices, by the time the newspaper's collapse, most
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of them had made a strong commitment to diversity. that still exists in some of those newsrooms. you see the nonprofits come up, for reasons that are mere survival, they are not there at that point. we are losing a lot of diversity in our journalism. that is one very big red flag i feel strongly about, figuring out how to support these nonprofits in those goals. >> when a newspaper was an institution you could complain to, that was a way to solve the problem. with the institution falling apart, you have to solve the problem itself. >> some people do it and have made real commitments. some organizations do not. >> let's open it up to the audience. >> thank you. it is time to take questions. there are two people with microphones. jennifer and i will take your questions. please speak into the
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microphone. we are recording and c-span is here. the first question is right here. >> i am looking at a state of open mind, a public square, all these terms you use. the name that comes to mind is wikileaks. do you support the work? is this something you will support in the future? i find journalists do not ask good questions. it is very frustrating. we are not getting the truth, no transparency. what is your opinion of the work of leaks? document leaks.
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>> we have had a guest for a couple years, both on skype and in person. that is a complicated issue for many reasons. one of the problems is it is hard to parsecs the figure from what he is actually doing. i do not have a clear answer to that. in a lot of ways, i support what he was trying to do. i do not know if i support it in the way he did it. most journalists believe in the public access of information. he is an interesting figure. >> i support and defend his right to do what they did. there is some discomfort with his personality, his figure.
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i think this is an example of another formula being applied to the journalism problem. i think homicide watch in washington d.c. is another one. instead of everything having to go through a story on the front page, this is a way to apply formula to solving a problem. it is interesting to watch and i defend his right to do what he did. there are questions with regard to how he did it. >> i was wondering if there was more to the question. the professional norms and ethics, there are certain things you cannot do and places you cannot go. the conservative who dresses up, do you think it is valuable to have those people?
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this era gives those people a reach. there are certain things the rest of us cannot do. they almost do anything. >> absolutely. it is a great question. is he a journalist? is he a hacker? i personally have a slightly more conservative take on what a journalist can and should do. i would prefer to have a trusted force that can synthesize some of that information for me. someone i can follow over a period of time. over time, that writer gains credibility for me. somebody i respect over time. then again, you have to ask yourself, did it have an impact? all that information at
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different times, did it have an impact? it did have a huge impact. we are having a conversation about ethics and standards that, to some people, feels old fashioned. in some ways, the journalism that is being practiced harkens back to an old school investigative print journalism. not that i was being romantic, but i wanted to still see it in practice. >> as documentary filmmakers, have you ever gone undercover? >> no. >> i have always had to be upfront. very difficult to do that nowadays. somebody can look you up on facebook. >> good questions are not being
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asked. someone gets a response a journalist knows is not true and they are not responding in a way that is not satisfactory. i want to empathize with that feeling. >> hello. i used to be a journalist a couple years ago. i have not seen your documentary. i am very interested in seeing it. i am out of the journalism business. i have a startup. what we are doing is working on the video medium for overall video use. especially information-based communities. i want to ask you, where do you see journalism in 2020? where would you like it to be?
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>> everybody is waiting for what is next, what is the new reality. the new reality is constant evolution. to the point where what we see in 2020 is incomprehensible. that is scary and hard. unless you try to take control and build something like you are talking about, i do not know. i do not think anybody who says they do has any clue. it will be good. every time there is a new -- there is an amazing talk. every time there is a new printing press or something, everyone thinks it is the end of the world or it will all
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bring perfect peace and harmony. it does neither. we will watch it get better and worse. >> the question on your right. >> hello. i came tonight because i think not only are the questions not being asked -- what? i am getting to it. if you do not have a facebook account, you cannot comment on a story, if it allows comments. what we am faced with is a bunch of sound bites on stories and we are supposed to read that. in my point of view, we have to see people like walter cronkite, real reporters, what we are seeing now is a place to go to news that is imposed. -- is huffington post.
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they got bought out, and now twitter is the big thing. there will be something else when twitter gets bought out. nobody in san diego is even talking about it. san and>> do not touch that. it's real scary. >> we did a big story and put it into san diego magazine. an example of using our collaborative partners to put that out. you could not comment on an edward murrow post in the past. you are right. we need better, stronger her, more interesting coverage of these institutions of these big changes of these scandals.
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you cannot pick and choose an outrage and think that is the whole thing. twitter is not delivering the information. sources like me and others who are providing a way to organize the information differently. do not think of twitter as 140 characters of information. think of as an invitation to get deeper into a subject. it is allowing people to connect and share information extremely well. >> i am curious rethink how occupied wall street's to change the conversation in the media about income inequality and wealth redistribution. it taught people how to document what happened at different encampments. it did a good job of how to
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videotape the police -- we have tremendous problems in san diego with police breaking up the occupied demonstrations. i was overwhelmed with a lot of different things that came up. i am curious as to how you think they changed the conversation in how they impacted the conversation. >> i think it had a huge impact. if you look at the election right now the way we are discussing so many things, it has become part of our vernacular, similarly to not commenting on edward r. murrow, but would not be the case. i think it shows what an exciting time it is. that is community activism. training people to used journalistic techniques.
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we are at a moment asking ourselves if to journalism as of an unbiased versus having a point of view are trying to get across. i make to both. with the weather underground is not something that does not have any opinion on a certain level. i do feel there is a distinction personally. more people have the opportunity to have a voice in a very strong and powerful way. >> i am excited to find what groups of filmmakers i going to tell the occupier story. it remains to be seen what impact they have had. they certainly have impacted the conversation. in 2012, we are still not talking about the income inequality and poverty and structural in the quality and deeper and more profound ways.
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filler, ist occupy's something we still struggle with. >> they were shooting film, but they also had something i wish i had, they had volunteered lawyers there helping them. there is all of this fighting going on. where the public faces, what you can shoot and what you cannot shoot. do you work with a lawyer when you are out there? do you have a lawyer you consult with? >> lawyer up. i think people rightly so are some much more sophisticated. things like reality television,
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people are much more aware of media and much more aware of it. there is a sense of opportunities. i will not call it a necessary evil because i like my attorney. it is a part of that puzzle. occupy is a movement. it is an important one for reforming the conversation they're wrong class. i would agree that i do not necessarily see what occupy is doing as journalism. it is a social vigilance. i did not see them as journalists. >> what i look at occupy a is not an example of citizen journalism as much as an example of what a group of citizens can do to influence journalism. there is always a mentality that
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the journalist or the media is doing its thing. it drives them there. it feeds itself and does that. it has always been really good p.r. people that have formed that. i think ought to buy has shown how and interesting discussion could impact that as well. >> we have temper one last question over here. -- we have it time for one more question over here. the reception will be right outside the doors following the last question. >> i like the model for being transparent, exposing your message, almost professionally. what would you do or say to somebody that wants to be a vigilante, what motivates
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somebody to be a vigilante? follow up with the craft of reporting? >> do you mean the one person who wants to go out and held their government accountable? >> that is what i mean. >> we all started somewhere. you have to start telling a story and see if you get traction and get into networks the support you. the motivation for somebody to do that. >> you never write as well as you do when you are mad. it seems to flow pretty well then. what makes you passionate. tap into that. whether it is mismanagement or something greater about society, tap into something that really fires you up. make sure you do the work.
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lawyers do the same thing that. it is a process of making a case. >> what drives the two of the to get into this? it is the usual thing, an unhappy childhood? what i think it is funny. ridding my bio tonight -- i think of myself as a storyteller. the storyteller takes many different forms. it is sometimes with a goal of having an impact, kind of a sense -- maybe it is a civic duty. one thing i was said about all of this and the investigative reporters i know is they are obsessive people. they are very curious. you see a problem, many of us can see it. you cannot let go. what is going on there. it is the case for most of the
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people who have a curiosity about the way things work and maybe try to make it work a little bit better. >> i think for me i would very much agree with carry. i think it is trying to get at what makes people tick and also not understanding myself how institutions work sometimes and really trying to ask those questions and trying to figure out questions. something like david simon's "the wire" did such a great job of telling the story about the drug war, the inner city, baltimore. it is not a piece of journalism. at the same time is also informed by a long and interesting career in local journalism. something like that to me has tremendous power. that is

CSPAN November 10, 2012 8:55pm-10:10pm EST

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